About College Applications
You have searched for colleges and prepared for college, now you have to apply for college!
College Application Forms
A college application itself is a form, usually in an online format. Application materials are the supporting documents, such as transcripts, college letters of recommendation and test scores that you will also submit for review. Some schools will require that you complete your application form on their web site. Alternatively, a group of schools may share a single online application that allows you to apply to multiple campuses with one form. In addition, many colleges use the Common Application, an online form that can be sent to multiple schools.
The Common Application serves students and institutions by providing a standardized college application form that students may submit to over 400 schools, representing a full range of higher education institutions. Once you complete your college search and have your list of colleges ready, check to see if these colleges work with the Common Application. Note that even if a school uses the Common Application, it may also require additional application materials, such as an additional essay topic of its choice, so read the application rules carefully. Once you have identified what the application requires, make a list of the items you will need to get for each application and its deadlines. Most schools will require 2-3 letters of recommendation, official high school transcripts, admissions test scores (ACT or SAT) and 1-3 original admissions essays.
College Applications - Dates and Deadlines!
You should already have a list made with of all the admission deadlines you need to meet. Put this list in an easy to find location. In general, college application packets are due before January 1. If January 1 is last date they can be received, submit your application before this deadline. Missing an application deadline automatically means that you've missed your chance to apply — stay organized and don't miss out!
Filling Out College Applications
Most schools will allow you to apply online which saves you having to worry about loose sheets of paper, white-out and messy handwriting. Online college applications will generally let you fill them out at your own pace, and come back as often as you like until they are complete. Typically, your data is encrypted and your private account can be accessed with your user name and password.
College admissions essays can be uploaded directly into your online application. If you are using the Common Application online, each application you start will contain your profile information so that you don't have to re-enter it each time. You will also usually be provided a handy checklist to ensure that you are completing each step in the application process. It doesn't get much easier than that. The only factor you really need to keep in mind is the time it takes to complete these applications in full.
If your school still accepts, or you choose to fill out a paper application, be sure to mail before the published deadline, and remember to print your full legal name and date of birth carefully and neatly on each page.